Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) and interchanges

A Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) is a strategic plan designed to satisfy the mobility needs of people and businesses in cities and their surroundings, providing a better quality of life. It builds on existing planning practices and takes due consideration of integration, participation and evaluation principles. These practices are the result of an integrated planning approach and address all modes and forms of transport in cities and their surrounding area. The development of SUMPs has gained increased recognition at EU level, as for example in the Action Plan on Urban Mobility [Action Plan on Urban Mobility COM(2009) 490/5]. The 2011 Transport White Paper encourages cities to develop their own SUMPs.

Different approaches to sustainable urban mobility planning exist throughout Europe. While some countries, such as France and the UK, may be considered forerunners, Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans are a new or yet unknown planning tool in other parts of the EU. The strength of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans is that they build on existing planning activities.

A Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan aims to create a sustainable urban transport system by addressing at least the following objectives:

  • Ensuring the transport system is accessible to all;
  • Improving the safety and security of its users;
  • Reducing air and noise pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption;
  • Improving the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the transportation of persons and goods;
  • Enhancing the attractiveness and quality of the urban environment.

The policies and measures defined in a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan should comprehensively address all modes and forms of transport in the entire urban agglomeration: Public and private, passenger and freight, motorised and non-motorised, moving and parking (source:

The status and quality of interchanges can be considered as an integral part of the SUMP. Outdated interchanges should be updated. New ones should be created to allow multimodal travel.

NODES strategic objectiveContribution
Enhance accessibility and integration ++
Enhance intermodality ++
Enhance liveability ++
Increase safety and security conditions 0
Increase economic viability and costs efficiency +
Stimulate local economy ++
Increase environmental efficiency ++
Increase energy efficiency ++

Good practice

The European guidelines on SUMP do not explicitly mention interchanges, yet speak about the provision of the infrastructure.  The City of Zagreb is mentioned as a good practice in relation to its new Sava-North intermodal passenger terminal. This interchange is located in the southern part of the city. It brings together rail, tram, bus, bicycle and taxi infrastructure. It should also function as a trigger for economic growth and urban development in the area. Specifically mentioned is the stakeholder involvement, as promoted through the European SUMP approach.

NODES application

The Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) is a compulsory document in France for any conurbation of more than 100,000 inhabitants. This means it also applies for the NODES site in Toulouse. It is under the responsibility of the Urban Public Transport Organising Authority and must serve as a reference for the organisation of travel within the region considered. It was adopted by Tisséo-SMTC in 2001 then revised in 2012. It will a benefit if it is revised in 2015 for the period 2015-2025. The principle: Designing the city of tomorrow. Tisséo is committed to seeking the wellbeing of the population through drawing up the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan whose objective is to: – Rationalise use of the car – Develop public transport – Support the emergence of modes of travel alternatives to the private vehicle (walking, cycling, roller skates, etc.) – Be attentive to the social, cultural and economic expectations expressed by the inhabitants.

The tool applies to the entire Tisséo transport network, whose interchanges include those of Marengo-SNCF, Arènes and Aéroport Toulouse Blagnac, which are 3 of the 5 major interchanges of the Tisséo network which reach out nationally (Marengo-SNCF railway station) and internationally (Aéroport Toulouse-Blagnac). Tisséo considers SUMP an essential and effective tool for coordinating the various public policies under the authority of various entities to the benefit of interchange users who have differing travel needs (public transport, pedestrians, cyclists, etc.) – consistent with the urban project programme.

Thessaloniki (Greece) noted that the development of SUMPs in Europe has gained increased recognition in recent years. Aiming to improve the quality of people’s lives, one of the main tools of SUMPS is public transport and its better connection with the other means of transport. In this concept, the interchanges play a core role for all the modern systems worldwide. For this reason, Thessaloniki’s SUMP has already highly prioritised the need of interchanges in a transportation system that is currently changing. The PTA based on its competences tries to ensure that all parameters are considered in the next steps. It is considered of high importance to update the existing SUMP, taking into account the outcomes of the NODES Project and the experience that the authority gained from it.

Potential interchange performance improvement

A well-planned interchange leads to a better-designed interchange for users and citizens.


The full-fledged development of a SUMP might involve some medium-to-high costs, as it implies lengthy planning, consultation and design. On the other hand, it helps to develop more sustainable mobility within cities with scarce resources. So it provides overall benefits.